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SASE vs. CASB: Overview

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) are security solutions that enable organizations to protect their critical data. Many organizations compare SASE and CASB when looking at specialized cloud security systems to maintain their security policies and safeguard their applications.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

CASB is a software or hardware program that sits between users and a cloud service to enforce security policies around cloud-based resources. CASBs help enterprises spot unusual or malicious activity and better manage cloud access with deep visibility and granular control. 

CASB was designed to secure the weaknesses of traditional legacy networks and business-critical cloud applications against emerging threats. It ensures organizations have comprehensive visibility of their network and protects their cloud applications against security threats. It also helps businesses reduce workloads and the complexity of their IT, which is crucial as employees use personal devices to access corporate networks from new locations.

CASB has traditionally been the data security solution of choice for many enterprises. However, as IT infrastructures become more complex, SASE delivers broader capabilities.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

SASE built on the foundations of CASB but went further to address enterprises’ broader network security needs. It combines software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) with complete network security, thereby increasing security, improving network performance, and reducing costs. When implemented correctly, SASE enables enterprises to apply secure access regardless of where applications, devices, users, and workloads are located, which is vital to remote-based workforces.

SASE provides a cloud-native architecture that enables IT to focus on core business tasks and removes the need to manage complex integrations, appliances, and interfaces manually. It is a crucial tool in securing remote connections and delivering secure access to disparate workforces.

Pros and Cons of SASE

There are advantages and challenges for enterprises deploying SASE, including:

SASE Pros

SASE is designed to protect virtualized environments, keep mission-critical data secure, and safeguard cloud-based information. SASE often provides easy-to-configure SD-WAN access, which is simpler to deploy and more cost-effective. 

A SASE approach ensures consistent, flexible security that delivers threat prevention to any edge, which helps enterprises fully understand who and what is on their network. It also optimizes performance by leveraging cloud availability, enabling users to quickly and securely access applications, resources, and the internet from any location.

SASE enables enterprises to manage security and WAN traffic through a single pane of glass, while simply adding additional tools like analytics, policy management, Secure Web Gateways (SWGs)unified threat management (UTM), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA). SASE is also compatible with the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling organizations to protect their rapidly growing networks of connected devices and servers.

SASE Cons

SASE is not necessarily the best option for every use case, such as organizations that remain reliant on legacy multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections. Network configuration can become complicated as SASE can result in deduplication, introduce new inefficiencies, and present troubleshooting difficulties. 

Some SASE capabilities may also be in the early stages of development or have limited features, while other solutions may require tuning or be particularly sensitive and require retraining for security staff. It is therefore critical to understand the importance of data and only apply the right access levels.

Pros and Cons of CASB

CASB also has a range of advantages and difficulties, including:

CASB Pros

One of the key benefits of CASB is preventing external and internal cyber threats, such as malware and phishing. It enables organizations to mitigate threats by restricting access to critical data, monitoring users’ online activity in real time, managing privileged accounts, and controlling cloud-based file sharing. This helps enterprises prevent data leakage by enforcing rules around user activity, such as access, devices, location, and time restrictions.

CASB also increases visibility into network activity. This helps prevent shadow IT by limiting or removing the use of unsanctioned or unapproved applications and identifying risky cloud applications. 

CASB Cons

The big challenge with CASB is integrating it with other security solutions. CASB falls short when delivering functionality for solutions like SD-WAN, WAN optimization, and ZTNA. 

Comparative Analysis on SASE vs. CASB

In the Secure Access Service Edge vs. Cloud Access Security Broker debate, it is important to note that both offer enterprises cloud and network security solutions. SASE built on the foundation that CASB put in place through additional capabilities and features to secure critical data.

The biggest difference between SASE and CASB is the security integration they offer with the assets they protect.

To compare SASE and CASB integration:

  1. CASB typically secures Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and can be added to an organization’s security stack. 
  2. SASE provides fully integrated WAN networking and security that connects remote-based users and offices to cloud applications and the public internet.

CASB addresses legacy security weaknesses, such as local-area networks (LANs), which were traditionally used by enterprises. LANs limited protection to the perimeter of an organization’s network, which meant outer edges often were not covered. CASB emerged as an option to safeguard all cloud data and increase network visibility. It can be implemented within a SaaS model or standalone as a physical device.

SASE used these principles to provide further protection for networks and optimize traffic performance. It ensures comprehensive visibility of traffic that routes to the WAN and enables complete security inspections of the network.

CASB is best suited to solve challenges around protecting enterprise cloud applications. It enables organizations to apply the same protections of traditional perimeter-focused security models to their cloud-based deployments.

SASE enables enterprises to benefit from a fully integrated security stack that includes CASB. It goes beyond CASB’s security features to optimizing SD-WAN with a highly secure next-generation firewall (NGFW).

Choosing Between CASB and SASE

CASB vs. SASE both offer benefits to enterprises depending on the situation and conditions. A CASB solution can be deployed as a standalone framework that easily integrates into an enterprise’s existing security architecture. However, SASE is increasingly seen as the preferred option as it builds on CASB capabilities while simplifying security and maximizing the efficiency of a company’s IT and security architecture.

How Fortinet Can Help

Fortinet is a recognized SASE vendor that provides consistent, enterprise-grade security across any network edge using a security-driven networking strategy. The Fortinet FortiSASE solution ensures advanced security that eliminates common security gaps without impacting workflow operations. FortiSASE is quick and easy to deploy and intuitive to manage, allowing enterprises to easily support and secure end-users wherever they are located.

The Fortinet FortiCASB solution delivers CASB security to organizations’ SaaS applications. It provides compliance, data security, threat protection, and visibility that help organizations protect themselves against cloud-based security threats and guarantee cloud compliance. FortiCASB enables enterprises to understand what is happening in their cloud environments, quickly identify threats, and prevent policy violations.